You could be Gone too Soon
In April, I lost a cousin suddenly. His funeral was one of those sad ones where you look at the young widow barely out of her twenties and the little children still in kindergarten and wonder how they will ever get through the pain. How this loss was about to turn around their lives…
Sickness is no respecter of persons. Barely three months later in August, the wife fell ill and after a week of wrong diagnosis, finally changed hospitals only for the doctors to tell the family it was too late. We lost her, just like that she was gone. I kept wondering if she had been going to roadside clinics due to tight finances, where quacks or poorly trained and equipped medics couldn’t tell meningitis from malaria.
Her death brought confusion considering we had just buried her husband. One family committee was calling for meetings to raise money to clear hospital bills and conduct the funeral while another consisting of mainly friends was conducting Harambees to raise money for the kids’ upkeep and education. While some resisted being invited to two committees that were raising funds for the same family, the chairman of the friends’ committee insisted: “The welfare of these children is now in our hands. Whether they will go to school or not is now our problem. We need to do this now because after the funeral, people will soon forget about these children.”
No one likes to think about death, yet the likelihood is that it could happen sooner than anticipated. For the Nyagas, they lost both their parents in a span of three months. For my friend Priscilla, death last year left her a widow at age 32 and with two daughters to take care of in a foreign country where you do not have the benefit of friends and family to throw Harambees and send random M-Pesa contributions.
In case of such a tragedy what happens to your family? Will your spouse be able to take care of hospital bills left behind?
Will your children have enough for their day-to-day needs or will well-wishers desperately be trying to conduct emergency Harambees to ensure the kids eat and have a place to sleep? If you were to die now, would your kids continue schooling at your preferred schools or would they end up in the village classrooms with dirt floors that you went to simply because there is no money? Can your family keep up with mortgage payments or will the house be repossessed, leaving them out on the streets and losing everything you’ve worked for?
You do not think about the repercussions of your demise until you have dependents. So when you think of Life Insurance, it should be as an easier way to protect your family from financial ruin once you are gone. That is why the moment you start a family is the best time to take on a Life Insurance cover. It allows your dependents to be financially provided for if you die. The insurance company pays out the sum insured to the beneficiaries, which allows them to mourn and pick up the pieces without the resulting stress of losing an income earner.
Life Insurance would have sorted out education for the Nyaga children without leaving relatives in a panic.
It could have helped Priscilla pay off the mortgage without the need to take on a second job. Funds paid out can be used to clear hospital bills or other debts left by the departed, or to ensure money is always there for schooling or general upkeep.
Every young parent should consider taking out a Life Insurance policy to ensure that one’s spouse or children are not left vulnerable because their main source of income is gone. This cover should replace some or all of your income for at least a period until your family can adjust to the new income status. This gives you the peace of mind that there is some form of financial security in place for your loved ones should something happen to you.
Unless you have a lot of savings above your retirement benefits, enough to take care of your loved ones after your death, it is wise to have a life cover in place. The younger you are the lower your premiums are going to be because it is assumed your risk of dying is lower. Also, the younger your children are, the longer your term of payment will be – with lower premiums. To protect your family therefore, start looking into Life Insurance as soon as you can.
As payments for the rent and car are due, Priscilla has found herself working two jobs to maintain their previous lifestyle. This is affecting her because she feels she is getting too busy for her kids yet she is all they have now.
The amount of cover you take depends on your ability to pay and the anticipated needs in the case of your demise as shown by your budget. What is your purpose for taking the cover? Is it to take care of school fees, to pay for the mortgage or to take care of basic needs? A person with two young children will need a larger cover than one who has one older child. If you anticipate your kids going to school in top end boarding schools, your coverage will be higher. You’ll want to save enough to cover your salary for several months and possibly years.
Priscilla was telling me how hard she’s had to work to ensure her children are fine since her husband, the main breadwinner was gone, leaving her with no pension or savings to fall back on. She is still grieving her husband, while trying to explain his death to five-year-olds who wonder why dad is gone to wherever he is that he is not coming home. Bills do not know one is mourning.